NSW Supreme Court prepares in-person return, vaccination rules

NSW Supreme Court prepares in-person return, vaccination rules

25 October 2021 By Naomi Neilson
NSW Supreme Court

The NSW Supreme Court has outlined its plan for recommencing live hearings, including vaccination mandates, limits on the number of legal practitioners permitted to be in the courtroom, and the number of hearings allowed to proceed at one time.

From Monday, 25 October, legal practitioners, judges, and court staff can expect to return to live hearings gradually. The first stage, which started the prior Monday, eased the courts back into one live hearing and civil matters only.

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Until early December, practitioners using the Supreme Court will have access to two hearings per floor but will be restricted to civil matters and criminal appeals. Motions can be conducted in person with 20-minute gaps between each matter, and multiple parties will be allowed while media will remain limited to digital access.

From Monday, only three legal representatives, one client representative, and witnesses will be permitted to enter the courtroom during a matter. This limit will be lifted, subject to each courtroom’s capacity, from December onwards.

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Masks will continue to be mandatory for everyone in the courtroom, with the exception of the judge and those speaking. This, the NSW Supreme Court, said would be reviewed again – along with other rules – at the end of October.

All attendees must also be vaccinated: “The onus will be on the solicitors for the parties to make enquiries of all their participants and confirm vaccination status.”

Criminal jury trials will recommence at the end of October, and it is expected that all people connected to the matter, including jurors, will be fully vaccinated. The court said it is also considering the role of rapid antigen screening “to ensure the health and wellbeing of jurors and court users”.

NSW Supreme Court prepares in-person return, vaccination rules
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